Alprazolam (Xanax) Addiction
Alprazolam (Xanax) is a benzodiazepine medication that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety. Even so, you may find yourself abusing this drug either because a doctor wrote you a prescription for it or because you are looking to benefit from its pleasurable effects. Either way, there is a high risk that you could end up struggling with a substance use disorder that could be difficult to manage unless you get medical assistance.
About Alprazolam (Xanax)
Xanax or alprazolam is a trade name drug for a prescription benzodiazepine medication. It is typically prescribed for the treatment of panic and anxiety disorders in various medical situations.
Xanax works by interacting with certain receptors in the human brain. By so doing, it increases the inhibitory activity of the brain as well as tempering the problematic excitement that might be related to your anxiety.
The fact that this medication also produces sedating and calming effects means that it is quite effective for the treatment of various conditions - and not just panic attacks and anxiety. Other conditions that you may be able to manage using it include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle spasms
- Withdrawal from alcohol
Since it is fast acting, most of the benefit of Xanax will be established about a hour after you use it. These effects will also last for about 6 or so hours. However, it is due to this mode of action that you may find yourself abusing the drug for the sedative effects that it provides.
However, you need to realize that Xanax can be quite addictive when you misuse it. This effectively means that you will be taking it without a valid prescription from your doctor or for any reason other than your doctor recommended. Over time, the drug can cause substance abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction especially if you take it in large quantities.
When you become tolerant to Xanax, you will increasingly find yourself taking it in higher doses or more regularly than you used to. Only by so doing will you be able to experience the drug's pleasurable effects. On the other hand, if you stop using it, you could suffer some withdrawal symptoms, including tremors, insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety, among others.
Other Names for Alprazolam (Xanax)
On the street, Xanax is known by various names by people who sell, abuse, and traffic it. You may also start using these street names to avoid detection by law enforcement officials and other authorities. These names include:
- Bicycle parts
- Blue footballs
- French fries
- School bus
- White boys
- White girls
- Yellow boys
Signs and Symptoms of Alprazolam (Xanax) Addiction
After you become addicted to Xanax, various areas of your life will start suffering. In particular, you may start displaying some of the following signs and symptoms of alprazolam addiction:
- An increase in your sociability
- Being on edge
- Blurred vision
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in libido (including sexual performance and sex drive)
- Cognitive problems
- Continued Xanax use even after you have realized that it has been causing problems in your personal and professional life
- Coordination issues
- Difficulties articulating your words
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty urinating
- Dry mouth
- Emotional blunting
- Feelings of elation
- Financial problems
- Heart palpitations
- Impaired memory
- Inability to stop taking the drug although you want to do so
- Increased salivation
- Issues focusing on any task that you need to accomplish
- Joint pain
- Lack of inhibitions
- Lacking motivation to engage in various daily activities
- Legal problems due to your Xanax use
- Loss of control over how much of the drug you consume at any given point
- Loss of interest in the activities that you once used to enjoy
- Low blood pressure
- Lowered interest in various tasks
- Marital problems
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Obsessing about acquiring and using this drug
- Poor balance
- Poor coordination
- Problems with memory
- Respiratory depression
- Risk-taking behaviors, including driving under the influence of this drug
- Shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- Sleeping for longer periods of time than you used to
- Slow reflexes
- Slurred speech
- Speech issues (such as nonsensical or slurred speech)
- Stiffness of movement
- Strained relationships with loved ones
- Suicidal thoughts
- Trouble breathing
- Weakened muscles
- Weight fluctuation
- Yellow eyes
- Yellow skin
Short and Long-Term Effects of Alprazolam (Xanax) Abuse
When you continue abusing Xanax, you may end up experiencing a wide variety of effects - most of which will be negative. This is particularly true if you do so over the long term. Examples of these effects include:
- Lack of coordination
- Memory impairment
- Serious injury
- Severe sedation
- Slowed respiratory rates
- Slurred speech
Alprazolam (Xanax) Overdose
A Xanax overdose can quickly turn out to be fatal. This is particularly true if you mix it with another drug like alcohol. Often, drug overdoses tend to occur if you chew or crush the pills. This is because Xanax was created to be a time-release tablet that needs to go into the system slowly over several hours. Some of the signs and symptoms of this type of overdose include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme drowsiness
- Loss of balance
- Muscle weakness
- Slowed heart rate
If you experience this condition, it is recommended that you call 911 or your local poison control department as soon as possible. This is the only way to ensure that the overdose is quickly reversed before it causes any further damage to your bodily systems.
Often, the treatment module will largely depend on the amount of Xanax that you took, as well as whether or not you abused other substances like alcohol at the same time you were using this drug.
For instance, medical practitioners could pump your stomach to get rid of all the Xanax that has not yet been absorbed by your system. They could also administer medications like flumazenil as an antidote against alprazolam. Alternatively, you may receive an IV transmission of the fluids that you need to overcome your overdose condition.
For this reason, it is important that you are honest about the exact amount of Xanax - as well as any other substances - that you took. This is the only the emergency medical personnel will be able to apply the right treatments.
Alprazolam (Xanax) Withdrawal Symptoms
If you suddenly stop taking Xanax or significantly reduce your normal dose after you have become tolerant to its effects, there is a high risk that you could suffer various withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms will depend on various factors. These include the duration of your Xanax abuse, the amount of the substance that you used to consume, and so on.
Some of the potential withdrawal symptoms that you may experience include but are not always limited to:
- Breast tenderness
- Excessive perspiration
- Heart palpitations (or tachycardia)
- Heightened senses (such that lights seem brighter and. Noises seem louder than they actually are)
- Increased menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual cramping
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle twitches
- Restless sleep
- Shaking (particularly within the hands)
- Sore muscles
- Stiff muscles
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Withdrawing from your friends and family
The Best Options for Alprazolam (Xanax) Addiction Treatment
If you have been struggling with Xanax use, abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction, it is recommended that you check into a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation center - or program - to be able to overcome your condition.
Often, the choice of a program will depend on the severity, extent, and duration of your addiction as well as the existence of other co-occurring mental health and medical disorders and addictions.
For instance, if you are severely addiction or you have a co-occurring disorder, inpatient addiction treatment could be the right choice for you. You could also opt for outpatient drug rehab if you have a relatively mild or new addiction involving Xanax that is not accompanied by other co-occurring disorders.
In the long term, it would be near-impossible for you to achieve full recovery from your Xanax abuse and addiction unless you receive the right addiction treatment and rehabilitation services.